Covid rage?! Yup, it's a thing and there's no wonder why. Every person may have unique triggers, such as differing opinions on Covid vaccines, frustrations with wearing face masks, apprehensiveness about the way schools, the government, and workplaces are dealing with Covid, seeing spikes in cases or deaths, having to cancel travel plans, or overall unsettled feelings about all the unknowns. This pandemic has caused a variety of emotions from rage to sadness to frustration to loneliness and even guilt. Our team has put together four of their favorite strategies for coping when you start to feel your blood boil and thoughts spiraling.
1. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings
It's okay to be angry, sad, anxious, or frustrated, just like it's okay to be happy, cheery, or joyful. We always give ourselves permission to have positive feelings, but what happens when we have some negative feelings (it's inevitable!)? Try this for a few days: consciously decide to stop labeling your feelings as good or bad, then you can actually give yourself an opportunity to reflect and understand your emotions and reactions. When something triggers you, maybe it's a news headline or a statement your friend just made, take a moment to look inward and understand why it triggered you. Taking just a few extra moments when you feel these feelings boiling up to the surface can help you deal with things in a more calm and collected manner and also help you recognize that it is OK to experience negative emotions about the pandemic.
2. Take a moment before you respond
Respond, don't react. Anger can cause us to do things or say things that we eventually regret. If you feel the Covid rage, identify it and take a moment. Here are a few ways you can take a moment: get fresh air, excuse yourself to the bathroom, count to ten, take five deep breaths, plan out what you want to say or do and then ask yourself if it is a reaction or a response. Test out these different methods of taking a moment and find which one works best for you (or make up your own way!).
3. Practice acceptance
A lot of things are out of our control...specifically this virus. While we all wish we could wave a magic wand and eradicate the virus, bring back the loved ones we've lost, and vanish the politics of Covid, we can't. Mastering acceptance is an art, so practice. When you start to experience intense emotions about Covid, take a mental checklist: what things am I angry about or worried about that are within my control? what things am I angry about or worried about that are NOT in my control? Then, accept and release all the things that are out of your control. You add so much burden to your life if you try to control the news headlines, other people's opinions about Covid, and so on. This is your reminder to prioritize YOU.
4. Talk to someone you trust
Sometimes it gets to the point that things become too bottled up to bear. Talk (or vent!) to someone you trust about your feelings. Maybe it's a parent, a friend, a significant other, or a therapist. There are lots of virtual resources popping up to help people cope with feelings during the pandemic (like this!). If you're not a talker, try a mind dump journal. Get a notebook or a few pieces of paper and write out everything you wish you could say.
Lastly, remember that we are all in this together. You are not alone in your feelings. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.